CanvasRebel recently interviewed me about risk, resilience, and other aspects of being an entrepreneur. A big thanks to my friend Kimberly Wilson who was kind enough to recommend that they interview me. I’ve included an excerpt below. You can read the rest on CanvasRebel.
We were lucky to catch up with Britt Bravo recently and have shared our conversation below.
Appreciate you joining us today. Risk taking is something we’re really interested in and we’d love to hear the story of a risk you’ve taken.
Way back in in the 00’s, I was in my 30’s and ready to make a change. I’d been working with an arts education nonprofit that I loved for 7 years and particularly enjoyed growing their volunteer program from a small group of devoted folks to a 100+ virtual and in person volunteer program. While working at the nonprofit, I’d also been teaching creative career workshops based on Carol Lloyd’s book, Creating a Life Worth Living and loved that work too.
Based on nothing more than a deep desire to do more creative career coaching with individuals and to build capacity for organizations through volunteerism, I left the nonprofit and started my own business. I built a brochure-ware looking website, asked a friend to design my logo, asked my husband to take a headshot with our digital camera, and printed my business cards with a now non-existent service called iPrint. I didn’t have a business plan, or a brand identity, or a mailing list. I just did it. I was so driven by my vision that I had faith it would work out and it did – although very differently than I imagined.
A month after I left the nonprofit, I was searching on Craigslist for gigs (that’s where people looked for work back then) and saw a listing for a nonprofit looking for a community builder to grow community around how nonprofits could use social media for social change. They wanted someone who had experience with creating online volunteer programs and what at the time was called Web 2.0. I wasn’t particularly tech savvy, but I was more familiar with Web 2.0 tools than most people at the time because I loved cupcakes and had a fabulous neighbor. Let me explain.
This was the beginning of the “blogosphere.” I love cupcakes, so one of the first blogs I subscribed to was a blog called “Cupcakes Take the Cake.” They encouraged readers to upload photos of cupcakes to their Flickr account in order to have them featured on their blog. So, I opened a Flickr account and uploaded my cupcake photos. Around the same time, I started to read my neighbor’s blog (Pause by Jory des Jardins, who went on to found BlogHer). I loved her blog so much that I started my own.
Even though I wasn’t a Web 2.0 expert and had never done any online community building, I was so passionate about creating volunteer programs that I applied for the gig, got it, and worked with the organization for three years. Instead of my work being about volunteerism, it became about how to use social media for social change. Because of those skills plus my time teaching creative career workshops, I became uniquely poised to help artists, writers, healers, creative entrepreneurs, ecopreneurs, nonprofits and other Big Visionaries to clarify and communicate their vision for their work in the world. That led to all kinds of exciting consulting, training, and writing opportunities including my local paper naming me the “Best Podcaster: Blogger Most Dedicated to Social Change,” and being included in the Fast Company article, “Women in Nonprofit Technology Who Rock.”
Fast forward almost 20 years later, as a coach and consultant in her 50’s, I know from my own experience and from my clients’ stories, that the older we get, the harder it becomes to take our curiosities, dreams, and visions seriously. Financial and family obligations, disappointments, failures, illness, and changing energy levels layer over our desires making them more difficult to access and trust. Especially during this tumultuous time in history, we long for stability and plans that flow flawlessly from A to Z. But that rarely happens, even in “normal” times. My self in my 30’s advice to you is to risk following what excites you and be open to unexpected paths.
Need help clarifying and communicating your Big Vision for your work in the world? Contact me for a complimentary call.